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A number of international locations together with the UK, Italy and Finland have joined the US in suspending their funding for the UN company that aids Palestinian refugees after allegations that its employees could have taken half in Hamas’s October 7 assaults in Israel.
UNRWA stated on Friday that it had fired “a number of” workers and launched an investigation after receiving data from Israel about their alleged involvement. The US responded by halting funding for the company.
Because the announcement, the UK, Italy, Finland, Australia and Canada have stated they’d additionally droop funding.
The transfer piles strain on to UNRWA, which has 30,000 workers, with 13,000 in Gaza alone. It’s the major company for administering help and working faculties and hospitals for Palestinian refugees within the Center East, together with within the occupied West Financial institution and Gaza.
The UK Overseas Workplace stated: “The UK is appalled by allegations that UNRWA employees had been concerned within the 7 October assault in opposition to Israel, a heinous act of terrorism that the UK authorities has repeatedly condemned.”
Antonio Tajani, the Italian international minister, posted on social media platform X: “The Italian authorities has suspended financing . . . after the atrocious assault on Israel on October 7.”
Norway, a serious backer of Palestinians, stated it might proceed its monetary help to UNRWA whereas awaiting the outcomes of the investigation into the allegations.
“Worldwide help for Palestine is required now greater than ever,” Norway’s consultant to the Palestinian Authority stated on X. “We have to distinguish between what people could have performed and what UNRWA stands for.”
Philippe Lazzarini, the UNRWA commissioner-general, urged the international locations to rethink their suspension earlier than the company was “compelled to droop its humanitarian response”.
“The lives of individuals in Gaza rely on this help and so does regional stability,” he stated in a press release.
“It could be immensely irresponsible to sanction an Company and a complete neighborhood it serves due to allegations of felony acts in opposition to some people, particularly at a time of conflict, displacement and political crises within the area.”
The Palestine Liberation Organisation’s secretary-general Hussein al-Sheikh warned that the suspension of funding carried “nice political and humanitarian dangers” at a time when tens of millions of Palestinians in Gaza relied on the company for meals, water and drugs.
“We’re in determined want of help slightly than the slicing off of essential help and help,” he stated.Kristyan Benedict of Amnesty Worldwide UK referred to as the UK’s announcement “a horrible resolution”.
“UNRWA is desperately making an attempt to help Palestinian civilians going through famine and illness in Gaza amid Israel’s ongoing bombardment and blockade, and it’s these civilians who’ll be punished by the UK’s resolution,” he stated.
UNRWA faculties in Gaza shelter a whole lot of hundreds of internally displaced Palestinians and have been focused by the Israeli navy on a number of events in current weeks.
The Israel Protection Forces has stated that it was responding to fireplace from militants on these events.
At the very least 150 UNRWA workers have been killed since Israel started its navy marketing campaign in Gaza.
UNRWA has been a frequent goal of Israel’s criticism that the UN and different worldwide our bodies are biased in the direction of Palestinians. Israel has referred to as for the company’s duties to be handed over to the UN Excessive Commissioner for Refugees.
Israel Katz, Israel’s international minister, wrote on X that his authorities wouldn’t enable UNRWA to be a part of “the day after” in Gaza, a reference to how the enclave can be run after the conflict ends.
“We now have been warning for years: UNRWA perpetuates the refugee situation, obstructs peace and serves as a civilian arm of Hamas in Gaza,” Katz wrote.